by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)
It was love at first listen for me and Chicago's Melkbelly. I still remember the glorious day a couple years ago that I heard Pennsylvania, their full length debut. I was blown away. I am still blown away. It is sweet and filled with hooks but its heavy and menacing and completely unpredictable. That record was a pop album at it's core but the adventurous noise punk backbone of Melkbelly is never far from joyous eruption. Just as the band lull you into the beauty of their sugary melodies, the band take a hard neck-snapping left turn directly into harsh noise and sonic destruction. Truly the best of both worlds, Melkbelly make the unaccessible accessible.
Last summer Melkbelly released the BATB 7", a two song single that not only proved the band's debut wasn't beginners luck, but that Melkbelly were getting even better. The quartet shook traditional song structures and loosened up, pouring an unbridled noise pop thrash into the record's spastic art punk. The songs sounded like a deviant mix of The Breeders dissonant pop melodies and Lightning Bolt's earth shattering rhythmic stampede, building up earworm hooks and demolishing your senses mere moments later.
The sun must be shining in Chicago because for the third summer in a row, Melkbelly have returned with new music. Mount Kool Kid b/w Elk Mountain 7" is set for release this August via the Manic Static label and it should come as no surprise, Melkbelly continue to amaze. They're still writing impossibly awesome songs, taking listeners for a wild and bumpy ride. A-side "Mount Kool Kid" is spazzy art damaged punk with pop innocence, the type to track determined to rip your head off... with kindness.
B-side "Elk Mountain," which we're premiering here today (and is available as a free download via their Bandcamp page) places the band in sludgy post-punk territory, opening with a hypnotic rhythm and a tangled surf punk guitar riff that drips with echo while spoken vocals layer on top one another. Without warning the bottom drops out beneath itself and a haunting vocal melody drifts above a dense doom progression before an immaculate drum fill nearly swallows the track whole. Just as quick as it enters, it disappears, and the song starts a new with a simple riff that builds toward a blistering crescendo until all hell has broken loose. It's quintessential Melkbelly, which is to say that it's all rather incredible.
and in Bandcamp form...
If you're in Chicago, go see the band tonight at Thalia Hall with Built to Spill. Melkbelly will be heading on tour this summer, stay tuned for complete dates.